Oats and the Gluten-Free Diet: Q&A Part 2

Oats and the Gluten-Free Diet: Q&A Part 2

Two weeks ago I posted on social media asking you to send me your questions on oats—anything that was on your mind. I did this because the situation with oats and the gluten-free diet is one of the most complicated issues I write about–something I’ve been doing for about 21 years.

Because you sent in so many questions, they are being answered in groups. This is the second Q&A post on oats. Some of your questions may have been slightly modified for clarity or combined with other similar questions.

Please make sure to read Oats and the Gluten-Free Diet: Q&A Part 1 before proceeding. This is very important to do. https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-and-the-gluten-free-diet-qa-part-1/

A number of you asked about the “safety” of specific brands of labeled gluten-free oats, namely:

GF Harvest

Bob’s Red Mill



Q: I buy exclusively GF Harvest oats. Are they safe?

A: If what you mean by “safe” is “are they produced under a gluten-free purity protocol” the answer is yes. As I wrote last week, purity protocol oats are produced following steps to control the presence of gluten-containing grain beginning with the seed used for planting. The protocols followed by the GF Harvest and other suppliers of purity protocol oats (e.g., Avena Foods, Montana Gluten-Free Processors, Glanbia) are outlined at https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-produced-under-a-gluten-free-purity-protocol-listing-of-suppliers-and-manufacturers/ and on supplier websites.


Q: Are Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats really gluten-free?

A: If what you mean by “gluten-free” is “are they purity protocol oats” then the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. Bob’s Red Mill uses both purity protocol oats and oats that are sorted. As I wrote last week, “Sorted oats are traditionally grown oats that undergo a sorting process at the mill to remove gluten-containing grain based on a variety of grain properties (e.g., size and color). According to Bob’s Red Mill “Our suppliers are innovative in controlling the presence of gluten by either avoiding crop rotation with gluten containing grains or using optical sorting technology to remove grain containing gluten.” To read the full statement from Bob’s Red Mill, please see the comments section at https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-produced-under-a-gluten-free-purity-protocol-listing-of-suppliers-and-manufacturers/#comments.


Q: Are Kind oats okay? The store was out of the regular gluten free granola I buy so I grabbed Kind.

A: If what you mean by “okay” is “are the oats purity protocol” then the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. According to consumer email correspondence from Kind and shared with Gluten Free Watchdog, “A significant amount of our oats are produced under a purity protocol process while the remainder undergo sorting and lab-tested visual inspection methods.” For more information from Kind, please see the comments section at https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-produced-under-a-gluten-free-purity-protocol-listing-of-suppliers-and-manufacturers/#comments


Q: Are Quaker Gluten-Free Oats safe?

A: If what you mean by “safe” is “are the oats purity protocol” the answer is no. Quaker oats are sorted oats. However, based on all of the information available to us, including Quaker’s sampling and testing protocols and our own independent testing, Gluten Free Watchdog does not oppose the use of Quaker gluten-free oatmeal by the community of folks with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. We are not supportive of the use of any other sorted oat products at this time.


For a listing of providers of purity protocol oats see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-produced-under-a-gluten-free-purity-protocol-listing-of-suppliers-and-manufacturers/


If you have follow-up questions, please post them in the comments section. Thank you!

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Comments (14)

  • Diana A. N. Reply

    I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about ten years ago. A procedure that the Doctor just happened to look at my small intestines. He was shocked to find so much damage. I explained to him that I would have episode of physical illness for days at a time. When I woke after the procedure he said he had my diagnosis within minutes. He said all my life the bouts of vomiting was from the fact that I have Celiac Disease. Well I happened to hear about it on Fox & Friends the week before. I looked it up & told my son about it. Then within three weeks I go in for the procedure & wake to the fact I have the disease. Blew me away.

    June 19, 2018 at 11:32 pm
  • Andi Reply

    A while back you commented that Trader Joe’s GF Oats were thought to be safe. Do you still believe that is true and, if so, why are they not listed among the oats recommended? Thank you.

    June 22, 2018 at 1:28 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Andi, are you referring to the listing of suppliers of purity protocol oats available at https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-produced-under-a-gluten-free-purity-protocol-listing-of-suppliers-and-manufacturers/? If so, manufacturers must contact Gluten Free Watchdog via email to be included in this list. They must state in their email that 1. all oats used in their labeled gluten-free products are sourced from a supplier of oats produced following a gluten-free purity protocol and 2.
      the name of their oat supplier(s). Trader Joe’s has not contacted GFWD. However, marketing materials (2016) from Trader Joe’s suggest their oats are purity protocol. I do not know if this is still the case.

      June 22, 2018 at 1:42 pm
  • Pamela Reply

    Are these issues relevant to other gluten free grains aas well?? I can understand that rice is grown in totally different places so crop rotation… is not such an issue with rice flour but what about other gluten free grains? There is no purity protocol for those grains but what are your thoughts on millet, sorghum, teff… that are labeled GF but not certified? Are they also considered high risk for cross contamination? What about soy? I’m both an RD and a mom to a daughter with CD. Should I always purchase only certified grain flours and soy products? Thanks so much

    June 22, 2018 at 6:39 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Pam, Whenever possible, all naturally gluten-free grains should be labeled gluten-free. I’m going to email you an article we published on this issue.

      June 25, 2018 at 2:43 pm
  • Cathy Townley-McGaughey Reply

    Quaker Oats has caused me a gluten attack several times. I will no long trust any of their ‘gluten free’ products. Ever.

    June 27, 2018 at 5:09 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Cathy, What brands/variety of oats are you able to eat without problems?

      June 27, 2018 at 5:59 pm
  • Jeanne Reply

    Tricia: I wanted to tell you about this, as I want to get the word out to other celiacs. Jeanne

    Looking for some new instant soups to take traveling with me this summer. I found this one on Amazon, and as you can see it’s got Gluten Free plastered right on the front. A bell went off in my head since I thought since they’re Asian style, they’re probably seasoned with soy sauce. It was hard (impossible) to find ingredients list for all of them, but some of them list soy sauce as an ingredient and do admit that the soy sauce is the traditional recipe that uses wheat. I want to warn other celiacs! Jeanne


    Check out the ingredient list on this one:

    June 27, 2018 at 11:15 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Thank you, Jeanne. I have reached out to the manufacturer to clarify the ingredients in their labeled gluten-free products.

      June 28, 2018 at 1:57 pm
  • Alice Reply

    How about Cheerios? They say they are GF but I have heard they can’t be trusted for people with celiac disease.

    July 12, 2018 at 8:57 pm
  • Rosemary McCleod Reply

    Are the sprouted quick oats by One Degree Organic Foods purity oats? They are out of Canada. Has a Canadian certified GF on the package.

    July 15, 2018 at 4:48 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Rosemary, please contact the manufacturer and ask about the source of their oats. GFCP is certifying both purity protocol and sorted oats as “gluten-free”.

      July 23, 2018 at 9:09 am

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